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i'd like to offer a very special 'thanks' fellas, for these lovely feet shots...
[Jeff's Toes...click to zoom]

[Mike's Toes...click to zoom]

[Garden Lodge]

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space.gif The Lukla Dilemma - Day 21

Oct 25 - Nov 15, 1998

in a move that can be described as classic idiocy we wound up in Lukla the day after Namche. We hung out at the Danphe Bar playing billiards until about 10pm. We spent the evening convincing Josh that we could stay here in Namche an extra day be cause we weren't leaving Lukla for 4 days and he wasn’t leaving for 3 "…who wants to sit around Lukla and wait when we could be in Namche. its so much cooler here!" We stayed up late talking and laughing and being entertained by Josh's incredible stories from his 5 months in india. We slept in late we woke up at about 9 am on Friday the 13th of November. We were casually eating breakfast and contemplating the day. We had brought some clothes to be washed by the only wash machine and dryer in Namche (which of course had been carried up on the back of a sherpa!) where they assured us our clothes would be dry by 2:30pm. This is when Jeff casually pulled out his airplane ticket back to Katmandu to check it out.

"…..dude, this return date doesn’t look like a 17? it looks like a 14!"

That’s when the panic started. As everyone knows, you MUST confirm, confirm, confirm your ticket ONE day early in Luckla before 3 o'clock or you spot get sold to one of the desperate masses who planned on walking another 5 days to the bus station in Jiri, but where suffering from bleeding toes and would probably chop one of them off for a plane ticket back to Katmandu.

The plan was as follows: Jeff and Josh would pack and set out ASAP and confirm the tickets. Debbie and Mike would wait for the laundry and follow as fast and as far as they could before night fall.

The Laundry got done early (amazing what some good old American hassling can do) and Mike and Debbie hit the road at a pretty rapid clip. We anticipated 3 hours from Namche to Phakding but we got there in 2. Mike knew they were doing fine and that Jeff was far ahead confirming the flight and they would all be in Lukla by 5 before the sunset. So Mike and Deb sat down to have a quick Rara lunch.

it was at that point that it was Friday the 13th and less the one second after that thought floated through his head, Jeff walked around the corner!

Jeff : "….MiKE! Your making good time!"

Mike: (Trying to remain calm) "you are far ahead confirming our seats!"

Jeff: "but, dude, check out the yak bell's we bought!"

Mike: "Doh!"

it turns out on their way out of Namche, Jeff and Josh went to the bakery, bought bracelets, hats, yak bells, haggled over a 10 cent price discrepancy for fifteen minutes took pictures of yaks on a bridge and chatted as they casually enjoyed the beautiful walk down the mountain and the return to the lush green valley below.

Slightly in shock, Mike realized sacking Jeff would not help the situation but this made the next two hours of toe bleeding double painful. To avoid any unnecessary violence Jeff left lunch a few minutes ahead of Mike, who raced to Lukla passing checking taking photo's again on the road. But making a wrong turn Mike climbed far and high out of the way. When he heard in the distance his name called and saw Jeff pointing to the bridge far below and the correct road to Lukla and he could no longer be mad.

When we finally walked into town and spotted our Airlines local office. We ran inside(we were 2 hours late for check in!) it was empty! Distraught, Mike staggered in a Frankenstein like trance to the back of the house/office saying "help!" Mike: "Royal Nepal Airline????"
Man in Turban: "Yes?"
Mike: "We MUST check in!"
Man in Turban: "Ticket please."

With that done we went to the lodge, relaxed, laughed, ate and drink into the evening. We sat beneath the lodge in the Garden Lodges garden. Across the street a Nepalese rave was kickin' till the wee hour of 11:30pm!

The next day sitting outside of the airport waiting for our flight we reflected on the last 22 days and all we had done! Although we are ready for the city, clean clothes, and a hot shower we knew that this was an experience that no matter how hard we tried would be nearly impossible to capture in its entirety with words and pictures. it is a time that will be impossible to ever forget!